Mattie Miracle 2021 Walk was a $125,000 success!

Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation Promotional Video

Thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive!

Dear Mattie Blog Readers,

It means a great deal to us that you take the time to write to us and to share your thoughts, feelings, and reflections on Mattie's battle and death. Your messages are very meaningful to us and help support us through very challenging times. To you we are forever grateful. As my readers know, I promised to write the blog for a year after Mattie's death, which would mean that I could technically stop writing on September 9, 2010. However, at the moment, I feel like our journey with grief still needs to be processed and fortunately I have a willing support network still committed to reading. Therefore, the blog continues on. If I should find the need to stop writing, I assure you I will give you advanced notice. In the mean time, thank you for reading, thank you for having the courage to share this journey with us, and most importantly thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive.


As Mattie would say, Ooga Booga (meaning, I LOVE YOU)! Vicki and Peter



The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation celebrates its 7th anniversary!

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation was created in the honor of Mattie.

We are a 501(c)(3) Public Charity. We are dedicated to increasing childhood cancer awareness, education, advocacy, research and psychosocial support services to children, their families and medical personnel. Children and their families will be supported throughout the cancer treatment journey, to ensure access to quality psychosocial and mental health care, and to enable children to cope with cancer so they can lead happy and productive lives. Please visit the website at: www.mattiemiracle.com and take some time to explore the site.

We have only gotten this far because of people like yourself, who have supported us through thick and thin. So thank you for your continued support and caring, and remember:

.... Let's Make the Miracle Happen and Stomp Out Childhood Cancer!

A Remembrance Video of Mattie

January 22, 2019

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 -- Mattie died 488 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2008. Mattie was in the hospital recovering from his second major limb salvaging surgery. A surgery that lasted ten hours! That is correct, 10! It was honestly amazing that Mattie could smile at all days after such a surgery. What this photo doesn't show was the nightmare we were living through trying to manage Mattie's pain, fear, and constant crises of hospital life. I could try to describe it, but it truly wouldn't do it justice.  


Quote of the day: Kids don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are. Jim Henson


Jim Henson's quote intrigues me. Perhaps I am intrigued because Peter and I spent about four hours today at Mattie's school... attending and participating in their common good colloquium. Mattie's school invited us to speak. I typically do not go to high schools to speak on a regular basis because it is a hard age group to appeal to regarding childhood cancer. But given we were invited, I felt compelled to go. 

I think Henson's quote has direct applicability to teenagers, as I truly believe they do not remember what you have teach them. But I do believe they will remember the people who speak with them rather than at them, as I have always believed it is important to give students a voice, freedom, and respect within the classroom. Through all these intangibles, is where true learning happens. 

This was the abstract I wrote for our presentation today. The School had asked us to come and talk with the students about Mattie Miracle and the making of our national non-profit. 
Here is what our cover power point slide looked like. Peter and I were joined by Ann, our friend and fellow board member. 
Today's agenda. We spoke for close to two and a half hours. Not straight, but instead, three back to back 45 minute sessions (with about 15 minute breaks in between). It is challenging to give the same session, three different times. Frankly, if I wasn't an educator with training, this whole colloquium would have been daunting. Because what I had to do was design curriculum! I purposefully made this session engaging and lively. It involved role plays, group exercises, a team challenge, and finally ending the session with a corn hole tournament and candy for everyone (since we have a corn hole tournament at our annual Walk, we figured having them play in class may inspire them to attend our May 19th Walk on their campus). 

I am not showing you all our slides, but just a few for you to get the gist. The role play involved Cozy the Cat, which is a stuffed animal that is used for medical play in the hospital. I explained the nature of medical play to the students and the fact that they would be seeing two different skits. 

I developed these skits myself and then Peter and I met up with Ann yesterday, and we rehearsed them together, so that we could perform them naturally without looking at paper. 

This is what the Cozy the Cat set up looked like in the classroom. Cozy had a broviac catheter coming out of his chest, like Mattie, and was surrounded by some medical equipment. Not unlike what would happen to a child in a hospital. 
After the students hear the two role plays, we then asked them what they heard. I would say we did a pretty good job, because in each of our sessions students were able to identify many of the items on my list. Ultimately they understood that childhood cancer IS NOT JUST ABOUT THE MEDICINE. 
In groups they played a matching game. I handed them a piece of paper with 15 statements. Each statement had a fill in the blank space. On this same paper was a column that listed words they had to use to fill in the blanks. Interestingly enough this was a very hard task for the students. 

To make it fun, each fill in that guessed correctly, they earned a bean bag to play corn hole at the end of the session. 

More childhood cancer facts! I figured this would be a fun way to learn facts, rather than just talking them!
I think the matching game enabled us to talk about facts, while also providing more context to the disease.  
We showed the students our 10th anniversary video. I really think the students appreciated the video because it highlights what we are about and what we have accomplished over the last ten years. 

Over the course of the 45 minutes, students heard about Mattie. Why Mattie Miracle focuses on psychosocial support, our activities, and finally what makes us a successful non-profit. I explained to the students that they should always be like the mouse in this photo.... wearing a helmet. Focused on the cheese (or their passion), but never forgetting to bring a helmet along for the journey. Because people around them have a way of trying to belittle ideas, but if they felt strongly about something, they would find the way to plow on through! Which in essence pertains to Mattie Miracle. I told the students that within the first year Mattie Miracle was created, other non-profits told Peter and I that we would never make it three years. Now ten years later, I laugh at this. Those negative comments actually spurred me on further, especially since others did not see a foundation surviving on just addressing psychosocial issues and needs alone! 
We ended the sessions with a corn hole tournament. The kids loved it and they loved receiving candy! As we told them, candy is important to the Foundation, as it helps to stock our candy and item carts at hospitals. 


Overall, if the students remember nothing else, I figured they would at least recall our inclusiveness of them in the sessions, playing corn hole, and leaving with candy!

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